This article is not politically correct. It is mean and ugly…stop here if it will ruin your day or something.
It was only yesterday when I wrote a piece about defending against the read option. I am ashamed to say I was very dismissive of coaches stating that "Hitting the QB so he can't walk off…" will put a stop to the read option.
I am embarrassed to admit I was ridiculing those esteemed veteran coaches and was wondering what is it that they will do this year that is different then trying to hit the QB last year.
Little did I know.
It's been less then 24 hours and I already take my words back.
It seems that defenses are indeed practicing vigorously on just that – Hitting the QB on read option plays so he can't walk off. From the latest reports it seems that this direction is indeed very effective in stopping the read option.
How do I know it? Well…
As you all know, with the limitations placed on OTA, players are left with more "free time" on their hands. Being the dedicated and consummate professionals that they are, they are gathering on their own, in their free time, to practice together in informal UTA's (Unorganized Team Activities). RW has been playing on the beach with the wide receivers; Collin and Ricardo are playing in the shower etc.etc. etc.
The latest report was about defensive players gathering together in their free time to work on stopping the read option and concentrating on perfecting their "Hitting the QB…" technique.
Mr. Brooks, after signing a 44M contract last year, has taken his teammates to such a practice.
From the reports I was reading it went as follows:
After consuming a large amount of unspecified liquids to prevent dehydration the players gathered at Divens's house to start the practice.
Brooks was playing the defensive player while Divens was playing the QB. Simulating the ball was a set of car keys. Watching closely were Okoye and Purcell.
After the snap Divens was holding the car keys and his eyes were set on reading Brooks. The option was to hand over the keys(ball) or keeping them. Divens's read was that Brooks is too drunk to drive and he opted to keep the keys. True to the principles of defending the read option by hitting the QB so he cant walk off – Brooks closed rapidly on the QB(Divens). Seeing the on coming OLB Divens aborted the run option and opted for a play action pass that was incomplete (the keys/ball hit the grass). Brooks, dedicated to the main objective of hitting the QB, did indeed complete his defensive task by hitting the QB(Divens) twice with a beer bottle and punching him.
He then proceeded with a play taken from the NE offensive playbook and asked "Do I need to get my F**king gun?"…
When you consider that this late night practice session was conducted without pads or helmets as per pre training camp regulations you have to admire the players' dedication to honing their craftsmanship.
With that type of commitment to the "Hit the QB" on read option plays I must conclude that the days of the read option are indeed coming to an end.
Since this practice session took place a few weeks ago, i wonder why we haven't heard from "prime & proper" Jim about his reactions to the outstanding efforts of his defensive players. I have a feeling that he wont take a page of the NE management playbook on this one. I guess it's much easier to say and do the right thing when it's players of other teams involved.
So, the read option is dead, Jim has shown his true colors and life goes on.